IowaWatch reporters Katherine Kuntz and Lauren Mills helped collect information for a report on sexual abuse of women at the now-defunct DeKoster Farms and Agriprocessors in Iowa, and farms in California and Washington state. The report aired simultaneously on PBS and Univision on Tuesday, June 25, on the highly regarded news program FRONTLINE.
FRONTLINE and Univision worked together for a report on the abuses many migrant women endure to work at some farms and packing plants in the United States. That report is the result of a yearlong investigation by veteran FRONTLINE correspondent Lowell Bergman, the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Center for Investigative Reporting, the FRONTLINE website states.
The show was on Iowa Public Television (IPTV).
Kuntz, a volunteer IowaWatch staff member entering her senior year at the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication, shot and edited video of basic scenery in Wright County and Postville in May for portions of the report.
She and Mills, a professional IowaWatch staff reporter and data analyst, also tried to track down people in Iowa for interviews that Bergman’s team could conduct.
They did the work as part of the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, a consortium of investigative and public affairs journalists that focuses on agribusiness reporting and to which IowaWatch belongs.
Those sought for interviews included a member of the DeCoster family and a former employee who was among three men accused of sexual assault, including rape, and other forms of sexual harassment at the DeCosters’ former chicken confinement plant in Clarion.
DeCoster Farms settled a lawsuit with 11 plaintiffs in which sexual assault was alleged at egg production plants the Dekosters no longer own in Iowa. The settlement was for $1.53 million in September 2002. There were no criminal charges.RELATED:
DECOSTER SETTLES RAPE, SEX SUIT, by MASON CITY GLOBE-GAZETTE
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